The Village Board recently rejected two bids for private purchase or development of the property, leaving razing the barn as the only choice. Bids for demolition work are due by the end of the month.
"It is what it is," said Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier. "We're just done with it all, and we're going to move on now."
Built in the early 1900s as a dairy barn, the building was renovated in 1984 to serve as a restaurant and housed a string of dining establishments before being purchased by the village in October 2009 for $185,000. The sale price also included 8.3 acres. The barn was used by the village for many years as a storage space for holiday decorations, lights, public works equipment and scrap materials, like fencing and parking barricades. However, it has been vacant for the last five years.
The structure has three levels — 6,300 square feet on the first floor, 2,200 square feet on the second floor, and a 1,600 square-foot basement. However, the building is in poor shape. There's extensive roof, mold and interior issues from water damage and neglect.
In 2016, the village sought bids to tear the building down. The low bid at the time was for $28,250. But before demolition began, the village began to receive offers from private groups looking to buy the barn. However, a deal was never struck.
Ideas then began to get floated on how the village might make better use of the property, but trustees could never agree on a way forward.
"I thought that one day we could make it a Shiloh destination for something like a cultural arts center, but I couldn't get all the trustees on board with that idea," Vernier said.
Cost of any potential renovation was the main obstacle, Vernier said.
In August 2016, Gary Karasek of U Studio presented the village Planning Commission and Shiloh trustees with plans for a potential cultural arts center inside the barn with a cost upward of $500,000.
With no action being taken, neighbors again began to complain that the building was an eyesore.
Still, trustees wanted to try and save the Red Barn's "unique" structure. So, in April the village began soliciting bids for the property proposals on how a potential buyer might develop it, as well as the adjoining lot at the end of Country Lane.
Bids were due by May 4, but Vernier said those bids "didn't meet the expectations" of the trustees and or himself.
Village Administrator John Marquart said only two proposals were received. One was from a local church, Citadel Deliverance Temple. However, "no dollar offer made" by the church, Marquart said. The other offer was for $10,000 from Heidi and Sean Turner, according to Marquart.
"In both cases, as the Mayor said, they did not meet our expectations, nor response to the request," Marquart said.
So, Vernier said the village is "moving forward" with a new plan.
"We think the parcel of land holds more value without that building on it, so we're going to demolish it," he said.
But while the building is going to be torn down, the fate of property on which it sits is still in limbo.
Vernier said the parcel originally had just over eight acres, but now that has shrunk to five acres — the difference becoming village green space.
"We've added three acres to (Sierra) Park, that's next door," he said.
The remaining five aces may end up nothing more than an open field.
"We may turn it into sports fields," Vernier said. "We don't know yet, but for now, we're gonna hold it."
In the meantime, Vernier said he is "glad it's not a complete loss," because at least part of the property will soon begin producing revenue for the village. In November 2017, the village agreed to rent about a 1/2-acre spot between the property and Sierra Park to AT&T for a cellphone tower.
"They (will be) paying us $1,000 a month for that," Vernier said.
The contract with AT&T is set up in five-year, renewable increments. Permits have been issued, but the tower has yet to be built, Marquart said.
"No construction has started, (and) no rental paid yet," Marquart said.